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PCC receives $100K grant to provide free online textbooks

Posted at 6:43 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 00:57:30-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Pima Community College students will now be able to get an associate degree without purchasing a single textbook.

PCC received a $100,000 grant to help Liberal Art professors provide free online books for their students.

The grant allows professors to create free textbooks for students by pulling material from a database.

"The great thing because it is not copyrighted," said Michael Amick, PCC's Vice President of Distance Education. "The instructor that decided to use it can take out whatever they want and put in whatever they find most valuable." 
Over the years, high textbook costs have been a problem for students. 
"There is research that points to survey students asking them about choices they have made because of textbook costs, getting the wrong textbook, getting it late, taking fewer classes, all of those contribute to that access and success point that having an open source textbook seeks to address," he said.
The online text book professors make can be accessed by over 200 schools in a database. 
Professors are able to pick and share information and problems making this material up-to-date.
PCC Professor Foth used this concept before and took time out of his personal life to create a class textbook, but he says it was worth it. 
"A lot of time and my wife can attest to the amount of hours at night editing the material and made it available for students so that first semester I saved students roughly $11,000 dollars," said Foth.
He says if he didn't like something in a text book he could change it.
"I could go in and redo the instructions based on the questions I am getting from students realizing that instructional piece isn't working so lets see about expanding or changing it," Foth explained.
Sophomore Lillian Bigelow says she hears her friends always complaining how expensive text books are.
"We pay a lot for classes anyway, so having paying less money and no money for textbooks I think would be a lot easier for students to come to school because textbooks can cost up to $300," said Bigelow.
Next semester there will be classes in Biology and Math with professors creating their own textbook.